This particular blog post will be a doozy. As mentioned in my rankings basics - in your standard 10 team 15 round draft you can expect on average 52 wideouts to come off the board. We'll tackle this beast in 3 segments and today we'll look at the top 15 receivers in fantasy. If you can someone come down with two of these you can consider your team air happy and healthy.
1. Calvin Johnson - - Detroit Lions ADP: 1st round (1st WR overall) / Yahoo: 1st
Pretty boring from your blogger here. All three of your sources consider the man known as Megatron as the best receiver in football. You just have to ask yourself one question. Do you believe in the Madden Curse. If you've never heard of this, the cover of the video game Madden has always featured a star player the year before and then the year of has a down or bust season. Calvin started electric last year with an amazing 9 touchdowns in the first 5 weeks. He finished strong too with 3 of his last 4 games going for 200+ yard performances. I can't recall a college player doing that let alone at top level competition. I think this will be one of the first exceptions to the Curse.
2. Larry Fitzgerald - - Arizona Cardinals ADP: 3rd round (3rd WR overall) / Yahoo: 2nd
Poor Fitzie. Of all the elite top Wideouts on this fantasy list, his quarterback situation is the worst. Kevin Kolb looks like a gigantic mistake and the concussions have only made his sporadic play more jumpy. Skelton is big and strong but young and mistake prone. Fitzgerald will produce no matter what, but you can't feel great about it. If you can sneak him in the 3rd you're a downright draft thief.
3. Andre Johnson - - Houston Texans ADP: 3rd round (4th WR overall) / Yahoo:6th
You can see Andre Johnson, the top fantasy receiver the last two years, suffer in ADP from his multiple injuries suffered last year. If healthy for a 16 game slate he's a safe bet for big plays and touchdowns. But the fact he's started off slow going again in the preseason has to worry you. Perhaps I have too many fond memories of big fantasy scores, but I'm hoping this one doesn't come back to bite me
4. Greg Jennings - - Green Bay Packers ADP: 4th round (9th WR overall) / Yahoo: 7th
You can tell that Greg's recent concussion has made his ADP plummet. Originally I had him ranked above Larry Fitzgerald because he's the top option for the top quarterback in the league. That back shoulder throw they have is sick, and oft-imitated but never duplicated. Sorry Larry but Jennings runs the best routes in the NFL. Another health concern here but he's been overall consistently healthy in his career.
5. A.J. Green - - Cincinnati Bengals ADP: 3rd round (4th WR overall) / Yahoo: 8th
A.J.'s rookie performance on a year with no offseason/training camp was simply amazing. Plus he performed with a rookie quarterback as well. The sky is the limit for this guy that already is a top 5 deep ball receiver with strong hands to go with amazing sped. Andy Dalton has struggled so far in the preseason so much like Cam Newton he could regress. But A.J. Green will catch it if it's close.
6. Roddy White - - Atlanta Falcons ADP: 4th round (8th WR overall) / Yahoo: 3rd
I forget the exact state but it goes something like no team has had two receivers go for over 1100 yards in near 20 years. This is the first concern with football's best pair of elite wide receivers. Julio Jones has more injury concerns than the veteran so I'm siding with Roddy a little bit higher. He continues to be in my opinion Matt Ryan's security blanket bailing him out under pressure which Ryan should see boatloads of.
7. Julio Jones - - Atlanta Falcons ADP: 2nd round (2nd WR overall) / Yahoo: 12th
You can tell that at least on the website fantasyfootballcalculator (where I get ADP) Julio has skyrocketed thanks to a preseason MVP performance of the league. Located right behind Roddy White it's take your pick here of the Dirty Bird deep balls. I like Julio better in the redzone and if you're team weighs touchdowns to a higher point value nudge him ahead. He'll have more touches but Roddy will have more yards.
8. Brandon Marshall - - Chicago Bears ADP: 3rd round (6th WR overall) / Yahoo: 5th
Don't sleep on Marshall just because he's snoozed with poor QB play in South Beach the last couple years. He's back to the first quarterback he played with and a talented QB for a change. He'll rebound in a big way and he may not be the best big receiver, but in the open field he has the best vision of the crop showcasing elusive moves and the ability to make a 5 yard crossing pattern an 80 yard payoff.
9. Victor Cruz - - New York Giants ADP: 4th round (10th WR overall) / Yahoo: 4th
Yahoo clearly loves the Big Apple's salsa dancer. Here's our second time share situation with the wide receivers. Victor Cruz's acrobatics and sensational hands were on display with big plays last year. He's certainly the new flashy girlfriend and people are high on him after his breakout season. I have him ranked ahead of Hakeem Nicks because Nicks has had some wheel problems with a fractured foot he needs to come back 100% from.
10. Hakeem Nicks - - New York Giants ADP: 4th round (12th WR overall) / Yahoo: 10th
My trend of pairing same team wideouts back to back was merely an accidental coincidence but again take your pick here. Much like before I have the speedy yard gobbler ahead of the red zone touchdown machine. Nicks will score more but Cruz will be the deep threat. I find it pretty amazing how fast he's been able to heal from an injury that predictors we're theorizing he would recover barely in time for week one. I love this guy's hands, he's a great endzone producer.
11. Wes Welker - - New England Patriots ADP: 3rd round (7th WR overall) / Yahoo: 11th
The New England front office is a tight well run ship that is smart about their purchases. The fact that they are franchising Welker tells me that this is his last year up Northeast. He's 30 and he may be faltering in his specialty; those little 5 yard crosses and quick outs. This may be his worst year in the Patriots system too just because of his competition - I expect a big year out of Brandon Lloyd. His name recognition gives him the edge.
12. Dez Bryant - - Dallas Cowboys ADP: 5th round (13th WR overall) / Yahoo: 19th
Yahoo has no love for crazy Dez. Mother shover and hamstring pulling sensation Dez Bryant is a risky pick this high but I'm willing to roll the dice. Dallas has all of their passing targets injured but most seem to be soldiering through it. If you haven't seen Dez Bryant's catch against San Diego in the preseason you gotta youtube it this instant. He couldn't get both feet down but it goes as one of the best catches you'll witness this decade.
13. Jordy Nelson - - Green Bay Packers ADP: 4th round (11th overall) / Yahoo: 16th
Jordy Nelson is the size threat of Green Bay's smallish receiving corp. He produced big in his first year as a full time starter for the Pack and carried the load in Greg Jenning's absense. Again like most Green Bay receivers he runs excellent routes and has the benefit of the premiere signal caller in the league heaving him the rock. He's a consistent safe bet in the 4th.
14. Steve Smith - - Carolina Panthers ADP: 5th round (14th overall) / Yahoo: 13th
I have not adjusted Steve's ranking position on my list recently but I may have to. Reports of a 'foot infection' (what is that BTW?) have him reduced to crutches on the sideline. Hopefully he doesn't stay there because Cam has the nuke arm to utilize this speedy Smitty in the best fashion. Last year, right before Week 1, I had a guy drop him in my league and it became my biggest free agent acquisiton of the year. He is getting long in the tooth though.
15. Percy Harvin - - Minnesota Vikings ADP: 5th roun (15th overall) / Yahoo: 20th
I'm in love with Percy as a sleeper this year. Going into 2012 he is the Vikings best weapon on offense thanks to a limping AP. Christian Ponder was starting to come on last year and could be a respectable QB option. Plus of the top 15 he will surely give you the most rushing and return yards so if you get points for those too cash in! He wants a new contract so he'll be playing for paying.
Up Next we'll see where the true drafts are won and lost. WR2 and WR3 selections!